Isabella is beautiful, intelligent, educated, and independent. She is the total package! What more could a man ask for? Well, her Latino boyfriend couldn’t see past the fact she was more educated than him and in turn, made more money. In a society where Latinas are making huge advances in education and their careers, how can single and successful Latinas handle the machismo males they encounter in their lives?
Latinas currently account for approximately 67 percent of all degrees earned by all U.S. Hispanics. And there’s no stopping us now! Latinas are continuing to enroll in college more than our Latino male counterparts. In 2012, Latinas outpaced Latinos in college enrollment by 13 percent.
Latinas are now also becoming the primary or joint decision-maker in the household. Unfortunately, successful Latinas often struggle with the idea of “Marianismo”- to live in the shadows (literally and figuratively) of their Latino men, family, and children. It is seen as the “noble sacrifice of self." If our career and success becomes an issue in our relationships, how do we handle it? Do we get out of the relationship? Well not necessarily amigas. Here are a few things I've learned about dealing with the machista male:
Tackle the Stigma
In her book When She Makes More, author Farnoosh Tarobi created a list of 10 rules for women who make more money than men. One rule Tarobi suggests is that both you and your man need to talk about the stigma that men should be the breadwinner. Trust me, it’s not an easy conversation. I’ve had this conversation with a significant other more than a few a times, and each time it felt uncomfortable and awkward. But it’s 2015 (not the dark ages) and these conversations happen more often than you think!
If you don’t acknowledge the big elephant in the room and how you want to handle it in your relationship, your relationship will not be able to move forward. Both of you need to communicate how you feel about this stigma and whether this will be a roadblock to happy relationship. It may be an issue your man can’t get past as he feels like he needs to be the breadwinner. While it may not be what you want to hear, sharing your thoughts on the subject may keep you from further heartbreak down the line.
Invest in Household Help
Tarobi also recommends spending money to assist with household chores, if financially possible. She cites a study that states two thirds of female breadwinners attempt to do most of the household chores. However, being the breadwinner in the relationship and tackling all the chores will eventually lead to burnout and cause more issues between you and your man. Let’s be honest, the last thing you want to do after a 12-hour day at work is cook dinner, wash the dishes, etc. You might be exhausted and cranky, which could fuel a fight between the two of you that isn’t necessary. If you have the money to afford some help around the house, spending those extra dollars could be worth it in the end.
Be Considerate of His Feelings
Tarobi also provides a simple rule and reminder: Remember who you are talking to – a man! Successful women need to understand the male brain. While you may not need your man to support you, be considerate of his feelings. For starters, don’t remind him of the fact that you don’t need him to survive. Instead, show him you care about his contributions to the relationship by including him in financial decisions or praising him when he achieves a goal. By being supportive, his confidence will increase. Just make sure to not “mother” him . . . you’re not his Mamá!
Know When to Call It Quits
So what do you do when you’re trying your best to be considerate of his feelings, have help around the house, etc. and he still acts machista?! If you don’t feel like your man is supporting you in your career and success, then you need to rethink your relationship. Here are a few signs that it’s time to call it quits:
- He constantly makes you feel bad or guilty about your success.
- He gives you an ultimatum – him or your career – and you know financially you won’t be able to survive.
- In a fight regarding money and your career, it escalates into verbal or physical confrontation.
These are not signs of a healthy relationship. As much as it may hurt, it’s better to walk away than to stay.
Remember, if you’re like Isabella, you’re the total package! Why settle for a man who doesn’t realize your worth — and I don't mean financially. Instead find a man who feels lucky enough to call you his partner. When you do, nothing can stop you as a power couple!